“Your 20’s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with stuff, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little and never touch the ground.”
Without sounding like a total loser, I’ve always based my life on clichés and cheesy quotes that somehow make the bad times better and the good times amazing. “Everything happens for a reason” and “When one door closes, another one opens” always seem to be the ones I LIVE by. Now these are great and have always helped me keep motivation within myself but sometimes, things just happen because the world is shitty or you happened to be at the right place at the right or wrong time. Sometimes cliché sayings aren’t enough and we all need time to process what is going on in our lives without the constant fear that things HAVE to be great all the time because they won’t. It’s a harsh reality and something I’ve learnt all too well in my 20’s.
I’ve decided to write down 10 pieces of advice or general experiences I’ve gone through in my 20’s to help anyone that may be coming up to being 20, already in their 20’s and are struggling or maybe to a few of you that will just want to see what things happens in other people’s lives to help make them feel normal.
So, here we go:
1) You will get your heart broken (if you haven’t already)
I understand that not EVERY one will get their heart broken, my brother and his wife have been together since they were in secondary school and are happily married with two beautiful children, so miracles like that can happen but for the unlucky rest of us, we will get our hearts broken and shat on and oh god, it will hurt like a bitch. I don’t want to delve too deep into past relationships but just get ready to cry a lot, eat A LOT of chocolate and make sure you appreciate your friends as they’ll be the ones to keep you sane.
2) You will find love again
Now, I’m a strong believer that you don’t need to have a relationship to have the best life. You could have a job that makes you super happy, you could have a cat or dog that you love to bits or you could even have a hobby, like travelling, that fills your heart just like love does. Any of these things that makes you happy will make you feel love again. I’m fortunate enough to have found quite possibly the most perfect person in the world that I know is my soulmate and if I could share him with everyone in the world I would, but I can’t and I’m not going to, sorry girls. Trust your gut and get out of your comfort zone, they’re the only ways you’re going to find something special.
3) Find your happy place
As someone that suffers with panic attacks, anxiety and depression, it is absolutely vital for me to know how to maintain a happy mind or to get to that happy place if I need to. For me, if I’m having a bad mental health day, I’ll shut my eyes, count to 10, breathe slowly and think about being surrounded by puppies. Works like a charm every time. Baring in mind, that’s taken me about 5 years to master so I’m not saying it will work for everyone, but it could be a start.
4) For god sake, LOVE YOURSELF
The most important thing in your life is you. You are the person that will be successful, you are the person that will be strong when you need to be and you are your own best friend so for god sake, stop treating yourself like shit. I’ve had enough of calling myself “fat” and “ugly”. We all need to stop doing this. There’s only one of you and we are all completely special and beautiful. I know it’s hard, god I know it is but if you can’t have enough self-respect to not slate yourself every day then you’re never going to be truly happy.
5) Don’t worry about having your life together
I remember when I was about 15, I would say “I want to be married by the time I’m 21 and be really rich”. In an ideal world, I’d be Kylie Jenner and this would almost be true BUT i’m not and although I was young and naive, I need to remember to not make unrealistic expectations for myself. I have graduated University with a first class honours degree and to me, that’s more successful than I could ever imagine. Saying that, if I could go back in time, I’d change the course I studied and I would change the career path I have chosen. Don’t expect your first job as an adult to be your last. Our minds are constantly changing and evolving so don’t feel bad for getting a bit lost in your life. This is going to happen and this is a good thing. Just ensure the outcome will leave you happy.
6) People are going to leave you
This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. Without sounding too drastic, at my age, the people around me are getting older. My grandparents, my parents, my siblings – I’m the youngest of a very large family and to think that I am getting to an age where death becomes reality, scares the shit out of me. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope when these inevitable days happen but for now, I’m enjoying everyone’s company, I’m telling everyone I love them and I’m not taking anyone for granted.
7) Your friends will fade away
I love my friends, like I’ve said previously, my friends have kept me sane through my darkest times and they’ve always been there to hand me a shot of sambuca when I’ve needed it but, as we’ve become older, we’ve chosen different paths for ourselves. I’ve moved to Cheltenham, some have had children, some have gone travelling and some have just simply faded away. This doesn’t mean I love them any less but this just happens in life. This age is a good age because we don’t take things personally. My friends and I might not speak for a few weeks but you can bet your arse if they needed me, I’d be there.
I also think this is a sign that new friends are going to be made. This will always happen at every stage in your life. I’ve got my school friends that I have a laugh with, I have work friends, I have university friends and I also have middle aged friends that I talk to about house stuff – a good mix of friends is always important!
8) Money will always be an issue
See, I remember when my mum would give me a few quid and I would be so buzzing about it and I’d feel like the richest person ever. Now, I get paid and BAM, half of my money is gone. The independence you gain from being an adult is amazing, it really is but good god, you better be prepared to pay £130 a month for council tax, stupid amounts of money on rent just for a bloody bedroom and DON’T even get me started on how expensive essentials in life are. If I can find a block of Pilgrims Choice cheese for under £2.50 then that day, is a good day. No matter how much you earn (excluding the Simon Cowell’s of the world), there will always be that little voice in your head that says “oh shit, how am I going to make this money last until pay day” but don’t worry, you’ll always find a way.
Tip: Money Saving Experts have a really good online tool that helps you see how much you’re spending and how to budget for the month! It’s always my go to tool if I’m ever struggling.
9) It’s okay to be selfish
Sometimes you make plans with people and end up regretting it because you feel like crap and you just don’t want to go. Be honest and tell them your reason why. You shouldn’t feel bad about wanting to isolate yourself from the world if you’re feeling low and if they are good people, they’ll understand.
10) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
At this age, I kind of feel like I should know it all. I should know how to handle every situation, I should know how to react to a bad situation and I should definitely know how to handle my emotions. Well, we don’t. Nobody does and I’m pretty sure we won’t ever know everything. There’s nothing I love more than ringing my Nan, mum and dad and getting their advice on what I should do with my life. I’m constantly asking my boyfriend if I’m doing the right thing and if I’m not, he’ll tell me. This is the best thing about being an adult, from the outside, we look like proper “adulty” people but on the inside, we have absolutely no idea what’s going on and we’re all just riding that very choppy wave together.
Please know that although these experiences are specific to my life, I hope you keep an open mind and get a sense of guidance from it all. Your 20’s will be fun and they might also be the most dramatic years of your life, thankfully I still have quite a few more years to go until I’m 30 but the important thing is to be happy, be as happy as you can be and never take a day for granted because life can fuck you up at any given moment, so just take it one day at a time.